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United Way Blog

Early Reading Program Helps Kids Achieve Their Potential

When is a picture truly worth a thousand words?

When it helps to provide books for children who are learning to read!

But some children face obstacles on the road to mastering this fundamental skill, while others face setback due to summer learning loss – which happens when school is out and young minds sit idle.

To help kids struggling to read, United Way of Central Jersey partnered with JFK Elementary School in Jamesburg, New Jersey to reverse summer learning loss with a six-week program called Summer Sprouts.  The program focuses on building literacy skills through cross-curricular activities.

This year, we expanded our program to serve more children, providing each child with eight books as well as reading activities. The effort has been supported by Johnson & Johnson’s Donate a Photo promotion, which encourages people to upload a photo to help fund early reading initiatives. Johnson & Johnson will donate $1 to United Way for each photo uploaded until October 31s, or until $40,000 is raised. 

In the program’s first year, more than half of the Summer Sprouts students improved their reading abilities over the end of the school year.  Additionally, over a quarter improved their reading skills above the normative level for their grade. Instead of summer loss, these students had summer gains and we expect similar results over the course of the next year.

Learning to read is a foundational skill that sets the stage for all other knowledge in a child’s life. Through help from Johnson & Johnson, United Way is ensuring children in our community are better equipped for academic success this school year and beyond.

Download the Donate a Photo app today and help us continue to empower kids to achieve a brighter future.

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